On her seventh birthday Layla’s mother mysteriously disappeared. Raised by a wood nymph in one of the few remaining human settlements, Layla learned to fight from an early age. She also learned to distrust the vampires who rule most of the land. When a vampire saves her life, Layla finds herself more than a little drawn to him, even knowing he could never give his heart to a human.
The trauma of his childhood left Simon weary and distrustful of all humans, until the day he saved Layla’s life. After seeing the spirited human fighting like a seasoned warrior, Simon can’t help but respect and admire her. He soon learns that Layla is much more than he ever imagined, and he finds it hard to stay away from her. Despite the depths of his feelings, Simon knows there can be no future for them.
Both of their worlds are turned upside down as Layla nears her twenty-seventh birthday. Suddenly the male vampires are inexplicably drawn to her, and Simon is no exception. As they unravel the mystery of Layla’s heritage, an enemy from their past resurfaces and threatens to destroy Simon and all that he cares for.
No Cliffhangers. While this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone novel.
There was no missing Simon’s erection. It was just there and very big. In fact, she should be rethinking her attraction to Simon. Instead, she was more aroused than she’d been after any dream. Stifling her moan took a lot of effort. Layla decided that the best way to deal with it was to remind herself of the many reasons she couldn’t be with Simon. “How can you be aroused after a night with two wood nymphs?” she asked without looking up.
Simon’s voice took on that silky quality only he could achieve, and she knew his full lips were curled up into a sexy grin. “You know what happens when vampires chase someone,” he purred. “You made me chase you. Even if you hadn’t, whatever is going on with your scent is arousing every male vampire you pass. I’m not the only one chasing you right now.”
Layla looked up at Simon with wide eyes. She was the reason Simon was aroused. Her blood heated, and her body tightened. Okay so maybe she wasn’t the reason in the way she’d like to be. His arousal was caused by the way she smelled and the fact that Simon had chased her. Still, her body didn’t seem to care what the reasons were.
Simon groaned. “Don’t look at me that way,” he said. “This is not going to happen. I don’t screw humans.”
Layla flinched at his intentionally crude words. This was Simon trying to push her away. “Don’t worry,” she said with a condescending smile. “If I need a vampire, I’m sure I can find one to take care of things for me.”
Simon’s upper lip curled back to reveal his fangs, and he gripped her upper arm. “That is not going to happen,” he said angrily. “Until we figure this situation out, you are staying in your home alone.”
Layla panicked. Being stuck in the house was not an option. She needed to get out. She was on patrol later that day and really looking forward to the trip into the woods. “You have no right to lock me up. I haven’t done anything wrong.” She struggled in his grip.
“This isn’t a punishment,” he said holding her arm tighter. “Stop fighting me.”
“Then let me go,” she said quietly. They’d attracted an audience. More than a dozen vampires, all male, were surrounding them. Layla’s instincts told her to fight. Those instincts told her to run from Simon at the same time as they told her to jump him and bite him.
Bite him? She had no idea where the hell that idea had come from. Looking around at the vampires, she knew she needed to fight those instincts. Simon was part of the leadership council for this territory. People needed to see him as strong. Having a small and weak human refuse to take orders would look bad.
With great effort, Layla relaxed in Simon’s hold and dropped her gaze. “I’ll go home,” she said as meekly as she could manage. She’d never excelled at meek.
“I’m walking you home,” he said with annoying arrogance and didn’t release her arm as he walked her all the way to her door.
Could this get any more embarrassing? The crowd followed them all the way to her house to see what Simon would do after her outburst.
“Go back to work!” Simon ordered the crowd once he opened her front door and pushed her inside.
Much to Layla’s dismay, Simon followed her into the house and shut the door behind him. He leaned against the door with his arms crossed in front of his chest. “Thank you for backing down. I know that wasn’t easy for you.”
All of the anger drained out of her body. “You’re welcome,” she said. “I’m sorry for acting like a child. I’m just really tense lately.”
“Then it’s probably a good thing you aren’t going out on patrol today,” he said. “You need to have your head on straight or you could get killed.”
As much as she hated to admit it, he was right. Still, he couldn’t be serious about her staying in her house. “I can’t stay locked up,” she said. “It’s just the new soap. Something about it must be causing this.”
Simon let out a frustrated breath. He reached for her but jerked his hand back at the last moment and walked across the room. “It’s not your soap. I don’t know what the hell is going on, but you’re causing too many problems. I’ll come by to check on you tomorrow, and if things are better, you can resume your normal activities. Until then, you stay in this house.”
“You can’t do that!”
“I’m in charge,” he reminded her. “Until Connor gets back, you take orders from me. Your choices are to willingly stay in this house, or I can put you in a cell.”
Layla fought the urge to fight him. She’d never been good at taking orders under the best of circumstances, and these circumstances sucked. Part of her wanted to push Simon and fight back to see how strong he was. None of what she was feeling made any sense.
Simon looked guilty, and that made it easier to comply. He was her friend, and she knew he didn’t like doing this.
“Fine, but I want out soon. This isn’t fair, Si.”
“I know,” he said. He reached forward like he might hug her but stopped and looked uneasy. There was an awkward moment of silence. Simon had hugged her many times, but now he seemed almost afraid to touch her. “We’ll figure this out. What I said about you being alone was stupid. The male vampires need to be kept away from you for now.”
He breathed in deeply and then closed his eyes. It looked like he was in pain. When he opened his eyes, he wouldn’t look at her. “I need to get out of here.”
Without another word, he left.
The ominous sound of the door closing behind Simon nearly made Layla panic. She couldn’t figure out why, but she needed to run. She needed fresh air. This must be what Raven felt like when she’d been kept away from the woods too long.
It was strange that she was acting more like Raven now that Raven was gone. Layla really did feel like she was going insane from the sexual arousal. Too bad she couldn’t take care of it on her own.
About Cassandra Lawson
Cassandra Lawson is an author and homeschooling mother of three from the San Francisco Bay area. She has always had a very active imagination and loves making up stories. When she is not writing she enjoys baking, spending time with her family, listening to music, or curling up with a good book.
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